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What is the City Nature Challenge?

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species!  

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

 The first challenge was in the spring of 2016 between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Participants documented over 20,000 observations with the iNaturalist platform. In 2017, the challenge expanded to 16 cities across the United States and participants collected over 125,000 observations of wildlife in 5 days. In 2018, the challenge expanded to 68 cities across the world. In four days, over 441,000 observations of more than 18,000 species were observed, and over 17,000 people participated. The 2019 challenge more than doubled in scale, with almost a million observations of over 31,000 species observed by around 35,000 people.

Taking the competition beyond its US roots, the 2019 event was a much more international affair, with the winning city for observations and species coming from Africa (Cape Town), and three South American (La Paz, Tena and Quito) and two Asian areas (Hong Kong and Klang Valley) ranking in the top ten for number of observations.

Save the Date – Cape Town City Nature Challenge 2021
Cape Town is planning to participate in 2021. The dates are:
April 30 – May 3 Making observations of wild plants, animals and fungi.
May 4 – May 9 Identifying the observations.
Results will be announced on Monday May 10th 2021.

Create your own iNaturalist account
Visit iNaturalist.org
Download the app from the AppStore or Google Play
Sign In
Start sharing your observations
Get feedback from actual scientists, experts, and other naturalists

INaturalist will be hosting a number of online tutorials on uploading, exploring, editing, identifying and using projects, as well as some more advanced courses. Upcoming online events presented by Dr. Tony Rebelo:
10 March 2021 – Quick Introduction to INaturalist
11 March 2021 – Signing in to !Naturalist

City Nature Challenge 2021: City of Cape Town Countdown